Yoenis Cespedes wasn’t ready to return from the disabled list when he was first eligible on Tuesday, but he could rejoin the Athletics’ lineup next week.
According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, Cespedes took 28 swings in the batting cage today without pain and is scheduled to take full batting practice tomorrow. He hopes to return as soon as Monday against the Twins, but Athletics manager Bob Melvin mentioned that he’ll likely require a minor league assignment. If that’s the case, it’s more realistic that we’ll see him at some point next weekend against the Royals.
Cespedes has been sidelined since May 6 due to a muscle strain in his left hand. We learned earlier this week that he plans to change the way he grips the bat in order to avoid aggravating the injury.
Cespedes, who signed a four-year, $36 million contract with the A’s in February, is hitting .245/.319/.434 with five homers, 21 RBI, four stolen bases and .753 OPS over his first 119 plate appearances in the big leagues. While the Cuban outfielder is still a pretty raw talent, he should provide quite a boost to an Oakland offense which enters play tonight ranked 28th in the majors in runs scored, 29th in OPS and dead-last in slugging percentage.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.